The Shame of the Nursing Mother

By Hannah Schenker

There is a lot of talk in articles and online forums such as Facebook comment threads about the shaming that breastfeeding mothers experience. You may have experienced it yourself – comments by well-meaning family or friends that expresses their discomfort at you breastfeeding in front of them, or in front of other children, or in public…you know the stories. You have your own stories. Megan Soto, photographer and mother to three kids in St. Augustine, FL, has experienced first-hand the shaming that breastfeeding mothers often face. Comments from her own family members have been her biggest struggle. After hearing the story of a mother who was excluded from her own family’s Thanksgiving celebration, Megan decided to share these stories in a video called “The Shame of the Nursing Mother”.

“When I asked local mothers to share stories of them being shamed by family and friends as nursing mothers the responses flew in,” Soto said, as she shared the video. “It became obvious to me that we cannot address public breastfeeding until we address those planting the seeds of shame.”

These stories are sad and probably familiar to many of you.

“Hopefully this gives some perspective in terms of the isolation that breastfeeding mothers face,” Soto told HuffPost. “I hope that it encourages people to be more inclusive both among their loved ones and among strangers. With this video I wanted to shine a light on how asking mothers hide while breastfeeding really looks and feels.”

It is our hope that one day soon, all breastfeeding mothers will be able to feed their children, wherever they like, without being subjected to shaming. It’s not too much to ask for.

Have you ever felt shamed by your loved ones for breastfeeding your child?

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